the baffler

posted December 23, 2013

worthwhile winter reading!  Subscribe here.  baflr23_000covr_front_300

The Baffler, est. 1988, is a printed and digital magazine of art and criticism appearing three times annually—spring, summer, and fall. We’re headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts; edited by John Summers,Thomas Frank, and Chris Lehmann; designed by Patrick Flynn; distributed byMIT Press; and delivered to subscribers and bookstores in all fifty U.S. states.

The Baffler is now printing on its most regular and prolific schedule since it first stirred to life. Each new issue features our signature salvos in cheerfully independent cultural criticism, plus poems, stories, and illustrations agile and vivid enough to call adverse attention to the illusions propping up the leadership class. Last summer we even copublished a book, James Agee’s Cotton Tenants, a once-forgotten manuscript about long-forgotten farmers living through the country’s last Great Depression.

Yes, the time has finally come for the magazine that’s been filing advance memoranda on the American comedy for twenty-five years, observing the occult ways that business talks all of us into profitable stagnation and culture-free innovation. Our quest to unthink the brands of today finds us spoiled for choice—in no time at all, we’ve covered digital swindles likeLinkedInKickstarter, andFacebook-branded feminism to banality shops like The Atlantic andThis American Life, hip cool cities like Berlin, and curious distillations of pretend meritocracy, likeHarvard. Our recent satires and tearjerkers have gone into French, German, Greek, Italian, Mandarin, Polish, and Spanish, in order to annoy thought leaders in those languages too. Even in the upper reaches of U.S. media, the most censored in the de-developing world, these tales have been singled out forpraise, as has the generally high quality of our discontent.

The financial crisis steadily erodes the market consensus that’s brought us a quarter century of wreck and folly. Yet the best that our most influential thought leaders can do is scratch after business as usual—concessions to the richest and sacrifices by the rest of us—to unlock the heavenly door of prosperity once again. Well, we were present at prosperity’s uncreative destruction. Now we want a new alternative—not a return, even in the best of the cases now put to us, to staffing factories; puffing trends in fashion; chasing social success via trampling, tricking, and elbowing; or consuming fake culture. No, thank you. We have seen that future, and it doesn’t work.

Opposed to all that and more, our writers and artists offer a camaraderie of truth, humor, and irony—an asylum from crackpot economics and carnival hokum. And since this is the part where you are begged to remember that all this mockery and analysis can go only so far without your support, please do, if you like what you see and hear, consider subscribing or donating. Join us as we ascend to that true and only heaven of critical acclaim and overwhelming influence!